Best translation of the Tao Te Ching


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Best translation of the Tao Te Ching

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jul. 26, 2012, 9:38pm

I've become interested recently in revisiting the TTC after reading the Stephen Mitchell translation years ago in high school as part of a world religions class. I sold that copy a while back in a fit of stupidity though, and was wondering if you all might recommend a good translation.

ag. 6, 2012, 12:55pm

One of my favorite translations is The New Lao Tzu: A Contemporary Tao Te Ching by Ray Grigg.

I have many different translations of the Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing). Some are more useful for scholarly research; others work better as literary works. I like the translation by Ray Grigg because of the poetic style that Grigg uses. It also has several great essays on the history and authorship of the text, on the Ma-wang-tui archaeological discoveries, and on the history of Western translations and interpretations of the text:

Page 110 The Translation Problem
Page 123 The Question of Authorship
Page 132 The Mawangtui Texts
Page 143 The Contemporary Interpretation

These four essays in themselves are worth the price of the book.

Here are some comments and an excerpt from the book that I posted in 2004 about this translation:

Which translations do other members like?

ag. 6, 2012, 5:05pm

I like Ursula Le Guin's, but it's not a translation, since she doesn't read Chinese. It's more her vamping on her favorite English translations.

Besides that one, I have the James Legge, which I haven't read much of; the one by Wing-tsit Chan which is pretty dense and academic; and the Modern Library one (translated by Yutang Lin which has bits of the Zhuangzi interspersed with the Tao Te Ching, a very interesting idea, but I'm never sure whether this would be a widely accepted way to read these books or if it's hanging out by itself in left field.

des. 30, 2012, 10:01pm

I first encountered this work in the form of the Shambhala Pocket Classic, translated by C. H. Wu. I don't know if it can be called the most accurate, and surely not the most expansive translation... still, it remains my personal favorite.

gen. 23, 2013, 5:33pm

I picked up copies of the William Scott Wilson translation, as well as well as the Adiss & Lombardo translation. I was primarily interested in the Wilson translation for the essay on the Dao De Jing and Zen Buddhism. The Griggs translation has me intrigued. I think I'll pick up a copy.

Editat: des. 17, 2018, 1:04am

I've read many translation. The one I like most is Yuhui Liang's book "Tao Te Ching: The New English Version That Makes Good Sense". He is an expert in the subject, and has made significant research progress. And based on his research breakthroughs, he has successfully corrected all the centuries-old misinterpretations of Lao Tzu's book and translated the Tao Te Ching into English by himself. Thus he has a pretty reliable way to be true to Lao Tzu's original intent and is able to introduce Lao Tzu's teaching in form of a system of philosophy in a way that it’s quite comprehensible.

Editat: des. 17, 2018, 7:12am

An expert who has done a lot of serious research ought to be visible on google for more than a self published book. All I see is someone calling himself an expert and saying 'I am right and everyone else for centuries has been wrong.' Well, I doubt that.

Someone who joins just to enter the one book (that nobody else has entered) and advertise it on a very old topic looks to me like the author or someone close to the author. This is against the Terms of service.